Wallace and the present gnomic

David Lim
Posts: 901
Joined: June 6th, 2011, 6:55 am

Re: Wallace and the present gnomic

Post by David Lim » October 16th, 2011, 4:59 am

Jong Ha Lee wrote:David, thanks for your comments. Excuse me if I ask a few more questions. How do you classify the present participle in John 3:16. What category do you put it in? Is it the progressive (descriptive) or something else?
In case you presumed that I have picked up terminology from any Greek grammar, I actually have never learnt in the traditional way, whether for better or for worse, partly because I never knew where to find the resources. So unfortunately I cannot classify those words according to the categories you may have learnt. However I am quite certain that there is no connotation of time in that present participle "who believes" in John 3:16. In my opinion the Greek present participle is used for only two purposes:
(examples taken from John 1)
(1) one that does something (which is the default)
(1.1) [15,...] "λεγων" (more like a circumlocution actually)
(1.2) [12] "πιστευουσιν", [15,27] "ερχομενος", [18] "ων", [23] "βοωντος", [29] "αιρων", [31] "βαπτιζων", [33] "βαπτιζων", [38] "ερμηνευομενον", [41] "μεθερμηνευομενον"
(2) one that is doing something at that moment
(2.1) [29,47] "ερχομενον", [32,33] "καταβαινον", [33] "μενον", [36] "περιπατουντι", [37] "λαλουντος", [38] "ακολουθουντας", [48] "οντα", [51] "αναβαινοντας", [51] "καταβαινοντας"
I do not distinguish between gnomic and non-gnomic usage because I think the line is a fine one. Also others may have slightly different "classification", but we may actually be understanding it in the same way. Since the "bare form" (1) fits nicely in John 3:16, I take it to mean just that and nothing more.
Jong Ha Lee wrote:Guys, how would you classify or describe both participles in Romans 3:11 (οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ συνίων, οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ ἐκζητῶν τὸν θεόν)? Do they have gnomic force? If not, why not?
From my perspective, these two are used as in (1) as well, as there is no contextual emphasis on a continuous action at one specific moment. It is clear from the context that what is stated is meant to refer to everyone under heaven, and indeed the previous line uses a universal quantification, "ουδε εις", to make the point clear. Thus in your terminology I suppose you can say that it is gnomic. I would just say that it is true of everyone and the standard translation conveys it accurately: "[there] is not [a] righteous [one], not even one. [there] is not [one] who understands. [there] is not [one] who seeks out God." It is not specifically stating that no one continuously understands or continuously seeks out God, but just as the first phrase simply concerns whether one is righteous or unrighteous and not whether one is continuously righteous, so also the subsequent phrases also concern whether one understands or not and whether one seeks out God or not.
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δαυιδ λιμ

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1883
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: Wallace and the present gnomic

Post by Barry Hofstetter » October 16th, 2011, 10:13 pm

Jong Ha Lee wrote:
Barry, I’m trying to pick my way through your comments here. Do correct me where I err. So, you’re saying that the force of the participle in John 3:16 is merely on the act of believing. As such, the participle here is not concerned with the gnomic, or with a customary emphasis on continuity. That is, there is an element of continuity to participle in John 3:16, but only as it indicates a state of being. Have I got you?

The following questions arise out of the same quest for clarification. How does this “state of being”, which, according to you, implies continuity, correspond to the mere act of believing implied in the verbal element? How does a seemingly punctiliar act (I’m not implying an aoristic emphasis), namely believing, correspond with a state of believing? Does not a state of believing, or of anything, imply an ongoing condition? Would a state of being imply more of an emphasis on the adjectival nature, “the believing one”?

As to your option, namely, a plain reading of the participle, why do you choose that contextually?
I think between David and Mark, your questions have really been answered. The present participle used substantively simply describes the referent in terms of the action of the verb. If I were to paraphrase it in Greek, I would do it the same way Mark did, ὂς τὴν πίστιν ἔχει. I was perhaps a bit to verbose in my reply (gotta sound smart, after all), but all I really meant was that the force of the participle is equivalent to "the believer." Anything else must be determined contextually.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Jong Ha Lee
Posts: 8
Joined: September 28th, 2011, 10:39 pm

Re: Wallace and the present gnomic

Post by Jong Ha Lee » October 17th, 2011, 9:51 am

David, Barry, thank you kindly, sirs, for your comments...most helpful. I'm inclined to what you guys are saying in terms of a "vanilla" use of the participle in John 3:16, and, as you, I see contextual reasons being the decisive factor. I was trying to unpick his mind on the participle in John 3:16. I'm still not at all clear how it can be both gnomic and customary. If you come across an explanation, do inform me.

Jong Ha
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